THE life of an inspirational teacher will be celebrated during a special service next week.
Andrea Clarke, 51, taught St John Fisher Catholic High School pupils that they could achieve anything.
A drama teacher with the Dewsbury school for 11 years, she also held the role of director of post-16 studies.
Headteacher Kevin Higgins described her as ‘irreplaceable’.
“She was an outstanding teacher,” he said. “She cared deeply for her students and the school community, but she was bigger than that.”
Born near Goole in May 1961, Andrea studied English at Manchester University before completing her teacher training in Newcastle. She took her first teaching job at St Wilfred’s in Featherstone, and joined St John Fishers in 2001.
Teaching English, media and drama at various times, her passion was for performing and encouraging others to do the same. As director of post-16 studies, she often took pupils on university visits and helped with course applications.
Her eldest daughter Kate, 23, said: “She liked people to achieve their dreams. She said nothing was impossible.”
Daughter Grace, 21, said: “We’ve been inundated with messages. So many have been from past pupils who said that it was because of mum that they were where they are today.”
Andrea loved music, dancing, going to the theatre and travel. She also supported several charities. Last summer, she spent a month with the charity Forever Angels in Tanzania where she worked in an orphanage.
But her greatest love was for her daughters, partner Al Thomson and her many friends.
“Her whole life was dedicated to her family and friends,” said Grace. “She was just so calm and serene, and always saw the best in people.”
Andrea, of Wakefield Road, Dewsbury, died suddenly but surrounded by loved ones at Leeds General Infirmary on Saturday. Following her death, she helped to save the lives of up to seven people as she was an organ donor.
A service in celebration of Andrea’s life will be held at St Paulinus Church, Westtown, on Thursday July 12 at 11am. People are asked not to wear any black.
A collection will be taken for Andrea’s Gift, the charity which supports the LGI’s neurological ward, and Forever Angels.